Puerto Rico Cheers: Bartender Guillermo creates a tasty rum punch at the Conrad Condado Plaza hotel in Puerto Rico.

Published on June 21st, 2011 | by Mark Chesnut

Cheers: Bartender Guillermo creates a tasty rum punch at the Conrad Condado Plaza hotel in Puerto Rico.

From Tropical Drinks to Rum Cocktails & Baskin Robbins: 5 Favorite Drinks in Puerto Rico

When it comes to sampling liquid refreshments, there may be nothing more mouthwatering than a Puerto Rico vacation. You might crave a fresh fruit drink, a traditional Puerto Rican favorite like a creamy piña colada, or a celebratory creative cocktail, but you’ll never go thirsty for long on the Isla del Encanto.

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As I wandered around Puerto Rico during a two-week visit (making use of our waterfront vacation condo in San Juan), I put together five top choices — and you may be surprised about choice number five! (If you’re looking for memorable cocktail recipes, be sure to check out LatinFlyer’s book, Mexican Cocktails: Libations & Inspiration from Top Hotels, Bars & Restaurants Around Mexico, which is available as an eBook for just $2.99 and as a PDF for just $5.99.)

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1. Piña colada: The debate will likely never be resolved about exactly where Puerto Rico’s most famous cocktail was born. One legend says that Ramon “Monchito” Marrero, a bartender at the Caribe Hilton (where President Obama stopped during his 2011 visit) invented it in 1954 (according to Frommer’s, when Joan Crawford sipped her first piña colada here, she said it was “better than slapping Bette Davis in the face”). Barrachina, a restaurant in Old San Juan, also claims to be the birthplace, but in 1963. Whichever is true, this rum-based cocktail made with cream of coconut and pineapple juice has become a perennial favorite around the world.

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DON’T MISS: Authentic Recipe for the Piña Colada — From Where it was Born! 
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2. Cervecera de Puerto Rico: This company makes two local favorites: Medalla Light, a pale lager that is one of Puerto Rico’s best-selling beers, and Malta India, a carbonated malt beverage brewed from barley, hops and water. 

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3. Coquito: Similar to egg nog, this alcoholic beverage is made with egg yolks, rum, coconut milk, coconut cream, condensed milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It is most commonly enjoyed during the Christmas holiday season.

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4. Gasolina: This line of ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages is marketed with the tag line “party in a pouch,” and with good reason. Named literally after gasoline (although more likely the moniker was inspired by a popular reggaeton song called “Gasolina”), it’s available with six different varieties of spirits and fruit juices, all sold in a single-serving aluminum pouch complete with straw. Made in Puerto Rico and sold only in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Florida, Gasolina is not exactly a way to garner points with the upper class, but its easy portability has made it common site on the beach. (It’s a favored refreshment during outdoor events like the annual Noche de San Juan.)

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5. Baskin Robins Triple Shake: I know, I know, Baskin Robbins is not a Puerto Rican brand. But I’ve never found the Triple Shake product anywhere in the United States (or anywhere else, for that matter — even the cheery woman who has made me two of these this week says that the Triple Shake is not included as part of their company training). A multilayered calorie bomb of chocolate syrup, ice cream and whipped cream, it’s something like a giant liquid sundae (so kill me, I’m addicted to desserts). 

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My Latest Findings
 
Rum Punch at the Condado Plaza Hilton: The Rum Punch served at the circular lobby bar at the Condado Plaza Hilton hotel is especially smooth and tasty. It’s made with six different flavors of Puerto Rican-produced Bacardi rum — apple, coconut, dragonberry, peach, raspberry and traditional — mixed expertly with Bacardi 151, a 151-proof rum (which has an alcohol content of 75.5 percent, compared to the usual 35 to 40 percent). But you’ll barely taste the potency, thanks to the pleasing blend of cranberry, orange and pineapple juice and sour mix. 
 
 
Rum Punch Sangria at Casa Lola:  Casa Lola  — a contemporary Puerto Rican restaurant in San Juan’s Condado district (set in what was once Ajili Mojili) and headed by celebrity chef Roberto Trevino — serves an impressive array of cocktails. The Miramelinda Rum Punch Sangría is made with red wine, Bacardi Big Apple and fresh fruit juices. 
 
Special thanks for excellent suggestions must go to travel writers Lydia Gregory and Lisa Loverro, as well as public relations guru and Puerto Rico-born Maite Vélez Couto, Juncos native Ismael Rodriguez, and Caguas-based Mixed Martial Arts fighter José Ramírez. Cheers to all of you!

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STILL THIRSTY FOR COCKTAIL RECIPES?
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Mexico Cocktails: Libations & Inspiration from Top Hotels, Bars & Restaurants Around Mexico
eBook just $2.99; PDF just $5.99
CLICK HERE TO SEE SAMPLES & ORDER!
 

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About the Author

The founder and editor of LatinFlyer.com, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.


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